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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Time for a blog...

Looking back, it appears that my last blog entry was Nov 10. Looks like it's time to play catch-up...

Most of December was spent getting ready for Christmas, although I did manage to make it to a Junior Brown show in Denton one Saturday night after work. Man, can that guy play guitar!

The kids were out of school for pretty much the whole second half of December, so I took care of all my shopping during the first half. We had a good haul this year... K and I got the kids an X-box (well, actually it was for the whole family -- and K and I have been playing it more than the kids have!). My big present from K was a new camera: an Canon EOS-20D. Now K will inherit the digital Rebel that I've been shooting for the past year. After Christmas, K and K's mom took L on a short trip to Chicago. They got back in time for New Years, which K, L and I celebrated by staging a late-night "Mexican Train" marathon. Mexican Train is domino game (the dominoes have more dots than traditional dominoes, and players build "trains" by lining them up a certain way) ... we have found it to be highly addictive.

K, Mom and I all celebrated birthdays during the first week of January. I celebrated mine by taking the day off from work. I did some photography in the morning, watched some football in the afternoon, had dinner with K, and then went to a Wayne Hancock show at Dan's Silver Leaf in Denton. It was my second time to see him, and it was a great show. He even snuck in a few digs on Junior Brown, pointing out the fact that he (Wayne Hancock) was charging $10 less than Brown, but was going to give the audience their money's worth... and then some! True to his word, Hancock and his band were still playing when the lights came on at 2 am!

I'm not really sure what happened to the rest of January... it was mostly a blur of taking the kids to school, visits to doctor's offices and pharmacies, going to work, and watching the NFL playoffs. The first half of February has been no less busy... having carpets cleaned, replacing a broken window on my truck, and setting up some new toys here at the house. I caught a Gourds show at the Aardvark (near TCU in Ft Worth) on Saturday the 11th. It was great to see them again -- my first time to see them in over a year. They're touring in support of a new album, and I plan on seeing them again tomorrow night (the 17th) at Dan's in Denton.

I've had a few opportunites to try out my new camera. Dispatcher Matt and I headed out late on Christmas afternoon for a few "test" shots... we got Amtrak 21 leaving Ft Worth and then headed out to Iona on the UP Baird Sub, where a westbound stack train was tied down. On Dec 28, I participated in CTC Board's "Day in North America" by shooting UP and UP-predecessor stuff in Ft Worth, Weatherford, Roanoke, and Dallas. I also shot some stuff on the morning of my birthday, and have managed a few more trips to trackside, one of which resulted in a lucky catch of UP's MoPac "heritage" locomotive leading a southbound down the Midlothian Sub south of Fort Worth. Here are three recent shots:

eastbound Z at Rhome, TX

BNSF eastbound Z LACALT races through Rhome, Texas.
BNSF Wichita Falls Subdivision. January 7, 2006.

UP southbound at Denton, TX

An SD40-2 leads a southbound UP train through Denton TX.
UP Choctaw Subdivision. January 31, 2006.

Heritage power on the Midlothian Sub

UP SD70ACe 1982, the Missouri Pacific "heritage" locomotive, leads southbound MFWEWB on the Midlothian Sub at Mansfield, TX on February 6, 2006. Trailing the 1982 are SD70M 3779, UP 1988 (the Katy "heritage" locomotive, and UP 4141 (the George Bush Presidential Library locomotive). This set of power has been captive to the Ft Worth - Houston trains for more than two months.


We finally got some rain here in north Texas, but when the storms clear out, it's back to clear skies and highs in the upper 60s. I don't remember any winter ever being quite like this one. It sort of feels like an eternal spring. I should be riding my bike more than I am, but I'll probably gear back up here in a few weeks when we start seeing highs in the 70s again. In the meantime, I've been taking hour-long walks a few times a week at various locations within sight of some of our local rail lines.

* * * * *

Idle Americans

It's a new season of American Idol on Fox, and the prelims were just as entertaining as in years past. A couple weeks ago during a KHYI lunch hour, Bruce and Brett staged a local talent search -- "Redneck Sing-along". Callers were encouraged to sing a short segment of their favorite song, and then the "judges" responded by telling them, "Maybe you should take some voice lessons and try us next year&334 or "You're going to Hollywood, Dawg!" a'la Randy Jackson. That's gotta be one of the funniest things I've heard them do in a while.

Well, be sure to check back here every couple of weeks or so, as I've got some additional pages in the works... and you never know when a blog update might appear. Probably later rather than sooner, but you never know...


np: Darryl Lee Rush - "White Trash Paradise", seggue to Fred Eaglesmith's "White Trash" on KHYI

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